West Edmonton Mall – Four Decades of Extraordinary Experiences

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The greatest shopping attraction of Canada is celebrating four amazing decades of existence!

Today’s words are dedicated to all the people who turned a plain idea into a booming business that keeps thriving after 40 years – welcome to the magic world of West Edmonton Mall.

The story of West Edmonton Mall is the story of how a handful of visionaries took an ordinary idea like a shopping center and turned it into a world-class destination. As the prototype for mixed-use entertainment facilities, this mall is a place where people come to shop, play, and stay. Its concept is inspired by the traditional urban bazaars of Persia, where shopping and entertainment were plentiful and operated in tandem, fulfilling a variety of consumer needs all in one place.

Home to more than 800 stores and services continues to be an iconic fixture in Alberta’s capital and, according to many retail experts, the reason for this is its ability to adapt to changes.

“The mall really put Edmonton on the map,” says Craig Patterson, CEO of the Retail Insider. “It was a different world”.

Andrew Knack, a city councilor who represents the ward that West Edmonton Mall is located in, said: “They’ve tried to make it more of an experience and that seems to be working for them”.

West Edmonton Mall merged shopping and entertainment experiences in the 80s which turned out to be a business strategy ahead of its time.

The original plan of the owners, the Ghermezian family, was to offer a combination of spectacle and high-end shops that would lure in international travelers who tend to spend more money than local shoppers.

Today, family continues to invest in the property always looking for the next thing, and retail experts predict it will be here to stay. And last.


  • West Edmonton Mall first opened its doors to the public on 15 September 1981. The mall was developed in four phases, completed in 1981, 1983, 1985 and 1999. It was the largest indoor shopping center in the world until 2004, according to the Guinness Book of Records. 
  • Past and current West Edmonton Mall world records include:
  1. World's largest mall (1985-2004)
  2. World's largest indoor amusement park
  3. World's largest indoor roller coaster
  4. World's largest indoor lake
  5. North America's largest indoor waterpark
  6. World's largest parking lot with lot with 20,000+ spaces, and over 10,000 overflow spaces.
  • If West Edmonton was a country, it would be bigger than Vatican! It occupies 5.3 million square feet, compared to the Vatican’s 4.7 million square feet.
  • Worth over $1 billion, the mall is the most valuable property in Edmonton.
  • More than 30 million people per year visit this shopping mall, making it Alberta’s #1 attraction. That is more visitors than Disneyland and the Statue of Liberty combined.
  • On July 11, 2004, the Mall suffered millions of dollars of damage in a hail storm.
  • The Mindbender, one of four rollercoasters in Galaxyland, is the tallest indoor rollercoaster in the world and the only one to do three full loops.
  • The mall even has its own chapel, the West Edmonton Christian Assembly.
  • Did you know Louis Vuitton in West Edmonton Mall is the brand’s first Canadian store?
  • West Edmonton Mall is licensed as a Zoo. In the past, this shopping center was home to peacocks, blue macaws, lemurs, caimans, grizzly bears, dolphins, flamingos, grizzly bears, gibbons, even Bengal tigers!
  • Animals you can see today in the West Edmonton Mall include sea lions, African penguins, sea turtles, and a long list of other reptiles and sea creatures.

Attractions that keep the magic for 40 years


This is the second-largest indoor amusement park in the world, behind Ferrari World, and features 24 rides and attractions. There are 8 beginner rides, 9 intermediate rides, 7 thrill rides, the triple loop Mindbender roller coaster, the world's largest indoor triple loop roller coaster.  The tower area was replaced shortly after by a more modern launch ride, the Space Shot, a S&S Double Shot Tower Ride.

World Waterpark

The World Waterpark is the world's second largest indoor waterpark, built in 1985, with a size of 20,903 square meters (5.165 acres). The park is also known as a place with the world's largest indoor wave pool. The highest slides in the park are the Twister and Cyclone, both 25.3 meters high.

The wave pool has six wave bays, generating waves up to two meters high!

Sea Life Caverns / Sea Lions Rock

West Edmonton Mall has an indoor lagoon which contains a salt-water habitat with four California sea lions and a replica of the Santa María, built during the 1986 World Exposition in Vancouver. The Santa María has been used for an annual Christmas fundraiser, raising toys for underprivileged children. Deep Sea Adventure is also home to the mall's aquatic life, most of which are housed beneath the main floor in the "Sea Life Caverns". There, you can expect to see all sorts of animals like fish, reptiles, amphibians and penguins. There is also a 525,000-liter tropical salt-water aquarium that is home to an array of fish, sharks and sea turtles, the largest of its kind in Western Canada. Today, what was once the 'Dolphin's Lagoon' is now known as 'Sea Lions' Rock', which is home to four California sea lions (Pablo, Kelpie, Clara, and Quinty). 

Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace

Ice Palace is a scaled down version of a National Hockey League regulation sized ice rink located in the center of the mall. The rink is used for various hockey and other sporting tournaments. In 2015, the Ice Palace was renamed Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace after the mall sold the naming rights to a local auto dealership.

During special events, the ice rink is covered with fabric and it’s a key place for holding ceremonies. 

Professor WEM's Adventure Golf

Professor WEM's Adventure Golf is an 18-hole miniature golf course. The miniature golf course was originally known as Pebble Beach Mini Golf, and was designed to be a mini golf version of Pebble Beach Golf Links. The course was refurbished and given the Professor WEM theme in the mid-1990s.

Movie theatres

Originally, the mall was home to four movie theatre complexes. However, as of 2017, only the Scotiabank Theatre, formerly Famous Players SilverCity, is in the mall. It opened with an animatronic fire breathing dragon, but sadly the installation was removed in 2014 due to high maintenance costs. Prior to the opening of SilverCity in the late 1990s there was a Famous Players theatre located near the Palace Casino, as well as a second Cineplex Odeon below Ed's Recreation Centre (formerly Red's), on the main level with the Gourmet Court during the third phase of renovations.

Other attractions worth of visit

  • Fantasyland Hotel, located within the mall; WEM is also affiliated with a second hotel, the West Edmonton Mall Inn, located across the street from the shopping center on 90th Avenue.
  • An indoor shooting range (named "Wild West Shooting Centre")
  • Large-scale replica of the Santa María, one of the ships sailed by Columbus in 1492. The deck can be booked for private functions.
  • 24-hour WEM fit.
  • Dinner Theatre: Jubilations Dinner Theatre offers original Canadian three-act musical comedies along with a four-course dinner. Full bar service is available and the theatre's productions run Wednesday to Sunday. This space was formerly a Famous Players theatre.
  • Envy Nightclub (formerly SET Nightclub), a dance club featuring top 40 and electro music. The space was formerly Whisky Jack's, a country-themed nightclub.
  • West 49 skate shop with indoor skate park, built in a converted cinema, formerly Cineplex Odeon.

What people are saying (genuine online reviews)

  • When you are at West Edmonton Mall, be sure to check out the Icebreaker Store.
    We have been teaching outdoor skills and guiding adventure tours for many years, and keeping our clients and friends warm and safe is our first priority. If you are looking for high quality warm, comfortable, durable clothing and excellent, knowledgeable customer service we highly recommend talking with Shawn and Paul at the West Edmonton Mall Icebreaker store. Shawn and Paul make the shopping experience fun with no pressure!

  • Finally returned to West Edmonton Mall after quite a few years and it was still an exciting experience. There is so much entertainment, dining and attractions for all ages! One thing I noticed on this trip as I am currently dealing with an injury that affects my mobility is how wheelchair accessible everything is! Can’t wait to come back again!

  • We had to stop in as we've been hearing about it since the day it was built! This was our first visit to Edmonton so we felt a visit to the mall was a must! We are so happy that we visited and loved it. We can't believe the size of it. There is everything from a dollar store to Tiffany's. Hudson's Bay in West Edmonton Mall also wowed us. The sheer size and what is included in this indoor mall will blow you away.

Seems like people will keep appreciating the genuine experiences tailored not just for shopping but for play and hedonism, as well. Get all the latest information and coupons for the West Edmonton Mall on our website, pack your bags, maybe stay at West Edmonton Mall Inn if you plan a longer tour and come to – shop. Play. And stay.

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